She’s always been there to rock

Back in 1988, when I started out as a young rock reporter, writing about hard rock for one of the main evening papers in Sweden, I didn’t know any other girls that shared the same passion. That was to happen later, but up until then, I was “one of the boys”. It was just the normal state of things.

During that time, the era before Internet and e-mails, I used to receive letters from my readers. There was always a big envelope in the editorial office, containing letters, or sometimes, such as when I dared to write something unflattering about Paul Stanley, a big sack full of angry letters. :)
Some of the letter writers stood out because they revealed a genuine curiosity, passion and interest in music, and they would write to comment on articles, suggest bands that should get more attention in the paper or simply to ask for more information on artists whose work they admired. One of those writers was a girl named Ozzie.

She was mainly very passionate about guitar virtuosos, her letters would often mention the likes of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani or Yngwie Malmsteen for instance. I thought it was incredibly cool with a girl who was genuinely into rock for the same reasons as myself.

I don’t remember exactly how we met up, but we started going to concerts. We went to see Skid Row on their tours of Sweden, keeping the costs to a minimum. At one point, another girl who was also going to those gigs, booked a cheap room for one person at the fancy Park Avenue Hotel (it led to Skid Row!) but then a whole bunch of fans, including me and Ozzie, crammed ourselves into that room to get a few hours of sleep. Somebody was in the bed, someone slept in a chair, some on the floor – there were people everywhere.
Another time I remember sleeping on a kitchen table at some girl’s place on one of those Skids-tours. We were young, we didn’t care much about convenience, it was ALL about the concert experience!

In 1992, Ozzie and I went to England for the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington. That was quite an experience. I remember having interviews scheduled left and right and at one point I was double-booked and was supposed to be at two different places at the same time. Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P was on the interview list in one city while Skid Row were holding a press conference in Nottingham I believe it was, at the same time.

So Ozzie stepped in and did the interview with Blackie. She saved my a** and did a great job.

It was also Ozzie that taught me how to create a web page in the early ’90s when the internet was new and still wasn’t in everyone’s homes. It required html-knowledge and she showed me the basics. She was a bit of a pioneer with that, cause she caught on early on those things. I created my first web page thanks to her tips and tricks and it became a very well visited page in the early days of Internet.

Fast forward to 2021. When life gets in the way, friends also go their separate ways sometimes and we have been busy with our respective lives the past few years but when I read that she had now finished and published her first book, I felt really moved, happy and proud.
The band is lucky to have her do this, because I don’t know anyone who is as thorough as Ozzie, or as passionate and disciplined about something when her heart is all in.

We Came To Rock – The Official Pretty Maids Journals by Ozzie Adenborg is out now. She’s followed the band for a long time. We used to go to their shows back in the day, and then obviously she’s seen many more on her own but it’s such an amazing accomplishment, I can’t wait to read this cover to cover!

She had a book signing today, at a very cool record store in the south of Sweden called Gantofta Skivbörs.
It was great to see her and her “baby”.

The book is in a landscape format rather than the traditional standing format. “I hate it when there’s a great photo in a book and it’s spread over two pages, because it just looks weird. I wanted the entire photo to fit on one page like it’s supposed to be viewed. And most live photos are landscape format so this seemed like the best option“.
See? Why hasn’t anyone thought of that before? It IS annoying with a photo that’s 50/50 on a spread instead of in full on just one page.

It looks fantastic, a great deal of work has been put into this and the result is magnificent!
It’s inspiring to see this and she deserves full attention for this book. I got a copy today and will enjoy reading it now when the dark fall is here. Perfect book-weather!

If you want your own copy, this is where you can get your hands on it: https://www.prettymaidsjournals.se/


My own pass from the show pictured in the book above.

We just got our lives back

I’ve been watching the live stream of Global Citizen all evening, coming from London, New York and Paris. Last year, this event consisted of artists who had submitted “from home”-videos, recorded from their back yard, living room or wherever. But there was no actual live event because of the pandemic.

I admired how people find solutions to everything – I thought it was sad in many ways that it had to be that way but the show had to go on.

When I turned it on today, I was met by something I had almost forgotten: CROWDS. Smiling people, singing people, people waving their hands in the air – just people as far as the eye can see. And artists on stage. It feels like the last time I experienced that was in another time and place, like it was a dream.

To be honest, it moved me, I cried a little. We’re through this shit. We are BACK TO NORMAL. It’s such an emotional thing to watch – and when Camila Cabello said, from the NYC stage, that it’s been so long since we’ve been able to gather like this, and that it’s scary for an artist to get on a stage in front of that many people – after so long – I got it.
A concert isn’t happening if it doesn’t consist of the the two most important elements: Artists and their audience.

Many tried streaming concerts in 2020. It just wasn’t the same. There was no exchange of energy, and that’s the whole point with live shows. You can’t recreate them – they must happen face-to-face.

I’m a bit nervous as well. I feel like I may have lost my ability to plan my concert-travels and most of all, I still can’t relax enough to enjoy the process, because there have been so many bumps in the road the past year and a half, that I’m almost afraid of getting too excited about anything.

“What if they close the borders again? What if new rules are made up? What if the show gets canceled? What if?”

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve felt like a zombie living in a bubble since February 2020. I have existed, but I haven’t LIVED. My whole life is about music. When the pandemic hit, I stopped living.
I didn’t take out any vacation, because… what am I supposed to do with my free time if there is no gig to travel to??

So, to see this now is… huge. Amazing. Fantastic. Unbelievable.

UK announced more simple entry rules for entry from October 4th. The US is finally opening in November. The EU has pretty much been open for months already. Denmark announced the pandemic officially over and has scrapped all Covid-19 rules. Life if back to normal. Norway did the same. Sweden is letting go of most Covid-19 restrictions, and concerts are now allowed again.

I don’t know, it’s like my brain has adjusted to this vacuum after more than a year of sitting at home staring at the wall, this “you can’t go anywhere or do anything” that I’ve told myself that maybe this is how it’s going to be from now on.

But seeing THIS today, made me smile and cry at the same time! F**k this virus and all the misery it brought.

And thank you to all the scientists and doctors who worked tirelessly to get us out of this mess, I credit this to them.

ROCK’N’ROLL IS BACK!! <3

ABBA…!

I haven’t blogged in a while, probably because there hasn’t been much to write about in this current Covid-vacuum that we’re living in.
But right now, it’s a few minutes past midnight here in Sweden, and I felt moved and inspired for the first time in ages.

ABBA announced their comeback a few hours ago, released two new songs and videos, presented the new arena that they’re building in London specifically for their avatar-show and just spoke about life and what they’re planning to do next.

To be honest, I didn’t believe that there would be an actual reunion. I thought it would be something much less sensational than what was advertised beforehand, but that they wanted to get everyone’s attention with the ABBA-name.

Frankly, even if they would announce a reunion, I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear it. Frida and Agnetha had two of the most amazing voices in the music business back in their prime. They were second to none. At their age, now, it could get embarrassing I thought. I was an idiot.

When I heard the first few lines of “I still have faith in you“, I thought it was very ABBA-esque and something from another era. But then, much to my surprise, I found myself crying. It freakin’ got me.

This is something that the world needs desperately right now. HOPE. Positivity. Love. Faith in the future. Beauty.
Modest and pompous at the same time, tasteful naivety to replace the cold and harsh cynicism we’ve grown accustomed to in social media and in politics the past few years.

ABBA brought me back to the magic of music, what it can do. Music UNITES. And it’s like they’ve been sent by higher, divine forces right in the nick of time.

And the fact that Bjorn and Benny still have that boyish attitude that anything is possible, is so inspiring.

Let’s just do it. Whatever it is. Oh, you need a special arena to be able to do these hologram shows, and there isn’t one that ticks all the boxes? Well, then let’s BUILD OUR OWN darn arena! Problem solved.

I love people who kick in doors, who think outside the box and go “how do we do this” instead of “we won’t be able to do this“.

Many memories from my childhood came back. At school dances, Abba was a given. We all danced to “Dancing Queen“.
When we drove through Europe to get to Croatia back in those days, I remember I was asked to pick out the music to play in the car. I picked “Voulez-Vous” and it played a zillion times on the way down to Split. Yet, I still love that album.

The first Christmas gift I bought for my own money was Abba’s “The Album“. I bought it for dad cause he was a big fan, but most of all I bought it because I wanted it myself. Two-in-one solution, why not.

It just feels grand. Huge. Somewhere in the stratosphere. Some people breathe music like nobody else. Abba are timeless with their unbelievable melodies.

Sure enough, it’s stuck in my head now too. It’s such a welcome break from all the darkness around us, we just need their light. Lots of it.

Welcome back, Abba!

Are we forced to steal music now?

What happened to buying music? When Google Play Music closed down, the possibility to buy and download a digital album disappeared. I loved going there buying all sorts of things. One day it would be some old eighties-one-hit-wonder like Falco and another day it would be Paul McCartney or hair-bands like Shotgun Messiah or whatever. Anything would be available for easy purchase. PayPal-bam! And bam! Within seconds it was yours forever.

I live in Sweden and I’ve realized only a few weeks ago, that if I want a new album I only have two choices if I actually want to OWN the album (not RENT it, which streaming is).

I can either go back in time and start buying CDs again (I thought we had left those behind in favor of mp3s, you know, non-physical music?) or collectors colored vinyls that I will never listen to because…well, they are COLLECTOR’s items that people usually buy because they want to brag about having them, or because they figure they might be worth something on eBay someday. And some just because it’s an addiction.

It’s even cool to buy a CASSETTE nowadays. But you can’t find a digital album for SALE anywhere unless you live in the States, apparently.

The second option is, frankly, stealing? Right? How else do you get an album that you can download and listen to anywhere, even when you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection?

It’s the second time I’m wasting my time trying to buy a downloadable album. Artists are complaining about not being paid by Spotify, yet that seems to be the only option for people to listen to their music these days? They don’t make it available to buy anymore.

When AC/DC released their latest album, I wasn’t even aware of the problem. I was sitting here one night and felt like buying the album – and listening to it right away.

Three hours later, I had browsed and Googled and tried everything to find a way to buy the damn record but to no use. It simply wasn’t available to someone who lived in my part of the world.

I tried four different Amazon sites, US, UK, Germany and Sweden. You get it “for free” (yeah, right…) with your SUBSCRIPTION which in other words means that you are renting it.

You are paying for the “privilege” of listening to it on THEIR platform, THEIR way, on THEIR terms.
And should you one day not be able to dish out that dough monthly, well – there goes the music too.

You’ve basically been paying to listen to the same album every damn month – and evenso – how long would I have to listen to that album on Amazon or Spotify before the artists actually get paid what they would have gotten if I had bought their album?

And another thing. I can’t STAND sites that think I don’t know what I like and therefore must “suggest” music that they figure I might like. One day they think I’m into Kanye or some other rap/RnB artist I’ve never heard of, or something they think is hard rock because hey – there’s a GUITAR in there? Once one of those sites suggested I should check out Kansas – because I had listened to George Harrison?!?

I’m allergic to Spotify, I’m not into paying someone else to make the rules to how I want to experience, select, and listen to my music. In other words – take your streaming sites and, pardon my French, shove it where the sun don’t shine.

I ended up getting that AC/DC album, but it may or may not have been legal, I wouldn’t know. At the end of the day, I wasn’t given the legal option I was looking for – for three sweaty, frustrating hours.

A few months ago, Paul McCartney announced the release of his new upcoming album, “McCartney III“. I bought the digital version of it right away, because the last time he released an album – “Egypt Station” – I did get it as a digital album.

Well, fellow McCartney-fans in social media started posting their pink, blue, white, yellow collector’s vinyls, the cover, the CDs… but no digital album. I had expected it to be the fastest option. I wrote to the store asking where it was.
It will probably take forever before anyone answers – thanks to Corona and Christmas. However, I noticed something when I went to his official store that I hadn’t seen when I ordered it – “US only“.

I ditched CD’s a long time ago – I thought we were over that format now. You can barely even find a decent CD-player anymore, or are we doing Walkmans too now? What’s going on?
Thank god I kept the CD-player in the car at least (I listened to my music through an FM-transmitter connected to my cellphone though….).

I’m sure it has something to do with all these ridiculous laws that have been driving us crazy the past few years. You can’t even enter a website anymore without selecting your level of “privacy” and “experience”…

I just totally missed the part that says “Thou shalt not buy music unless it’s on old formats or rented”.

Enlighten me please. What’s the deal?

Give the music back

My last concert “in the old world” was Vixen who played at the Monsters of Rock Cruise, while we were sailing back to Miami from having been at sea and in the Caribbean, enjoying life and our beloved rock’n’roll to the fullest.

Without those regular concert-journeys, my life would feel pretty meaningless.
I’m not the only one, there are thousands of us out there in the world.
Live music is our oxygen, our reason for living if you will.

The first sign of something going wrong, was when the Debbie Harry/Chris SteinIn Conversation“-event in Hamburg, Germany on the 7th of March was canceled because of Covid-19.

I didn’t get it at the time. I thought it was just an exaggeration from the media, it wouldn’t be the first time. I laughed about it and went to Hamburg anyway and met up with a friend from a record label – where we both sat across from each other, both coughing, sneezing, feverish, not thinking much of it – cause in the “old world” that was nothing but a common cold or possibly the flu. Who cared?

Shortly thereafter, the world closed down. BAM!

My best friend in Hannover called me one day, extremely upset, telling me to take this seriously and stay indoors. He had seen people dressed like the scientists in E.T, rolling people to an ambulance and it had scared the shit out of him.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Beat Sheet - Save the Cat!®

I lived in fear for months, because that’s what our media and our governments told us – this is very dangerous, don’t go out.
Don’t meet other people.

Since then, I’ve acquired enough knowledge and information to know how to handle this, and I think that the way it’s being handled – especially the way they’re killing our music – is terrifying. Only those who don’t understand the importance of music would do something like that so casually, like it’s nothing.

It’s EVERYTHING.
Mothers sing to their newborns to form a bond when they rock them to sleep. Children learn skills with the help of music, they can learn how to count, or how to cross the street safely, by singing songs that make it easier to remember those things. Music has saved many from poverty, hopelessness, possibly from living a life in crime.

For many of us, it has given us our identity, our sense of belonging. Without it, we’re lost, cause what ELSE is there out there worth living for? I still don’t know. Seven months of this vacuum has left me feeling like a numb zombie. I work from home, I visit my mother, I go back home. That’s about the extent of the life I’ve lived since March.

My “old life” was ALL about TRAVELING THE WORLD FOR CONCERTS. The reason I had a job was because something had to pay for those trips across the globe. Nothing else mattered.
I was on a constant quest for musical adventures. Bright lights, loud guitars, pumping bass, the collective ecstasy of thousands of screaming fans – where the music united us all.

We could be from different countries and cultures and speak different languages – yet the language of music made us a FAMILY and CLOSE FRIENDS for the hour or hours that our favorite artist or band was on stage charging our inner batteries so we could go on with our “other” lives.

That energy is like charging your cellphone. When you don’t charge it, it fades and locks down until you charge it again. That’s where I feel that I’m at right now.

I am forever grateful to DENMARK for being the first country to find a solution, and making it WORK. Karosserifabrikken in Helsingor, Denmark, arranged a concert with Jesper Binzer from D-A-D on the 21st of August, which was so long-awaited that I could have just cried. It was a small club with a small crowd – but you know what, there’s a charm and an exclusivity that is very appealing with that too.

Shortly thereafter, the owner graciously invited me to an by-invitation-only gig with Danish rock queen Sanne Salomonsen & Electric Guitars band, that had rehearsed for their upcoming tour at Karosserifabrikken and kicked it off with a private dress-rehearsal gig that was kick-ass.

She’s the real deal, she’s been around since as long as I can remember and she still sounds and looks great, still has that organic love for what she does – much like we in the audience have a neverending love for the experience that those on stage bring us.

It’s not “just entertainment”. It’s what we live for. Our everyday jobs are what we live of. There’s a huge difference.

And now, it’s started to move in the right direction in Denmark, concert-wise. D-A-D was supposed to play at Royal Arena in Copenhagen, but for obvious reasons, they had to cancel that…HOWEVER, they didn’t just sit down and sulk.

They announced a series of smaller concerts at the Tivoli, and I just went ahead and got a ticket for two of those. I contemplated going to maybe one more but figured two would be just enough to keep my spirits alive-and-kicking for another while. :)

Following that, is a show with Mike Tramp (ex-White Lion) at the Karosserifabrikken again – which I now see as my “hospital of the soul“. While nurses and doctors are treating Covid-19, these clubs are treating our bruised SOULS. We need both.

But I see little beams of light in Sweden as well. The movie theater Spegeln in Malmo, announced a viewing of the Phil Lynott-documentary, which is as close as we will get to anything music-related in Sweden, so I got a ticket for that. Should be fine, the salon takes 167 people but only allows 50 for that which is safe enough.

And our local rock club, KulturBolaget – KB, which is more than just a club, it’s an INSTITUTION, has tried to survive by streaming live gigs but now they’ve introduced “lounge-concerts”. Seated by a table, and only using a fraction of the premises, but nevertheless, you’ve got to work with what you’ve got. It’s the only way forward and it brought a big smile to my face and such relief cause I was worried that they wouldn’t make it through this.

They’re still hanging in there, and although none of the acts that they’ve announced is “my cup of tea”, I’m thinking maybe I should go anyway just to support the cause. Or else there won’t be any other concerts there ever. This is critical, it’s not the time to be picky – just freaking to to everything, and spend, spend spend for dear life!

Otherwise we’ll all be stuck in our homes for the rest of our lives, “saving our bucks” – for what?

Music has been such a strong force in so many ways, we tried to stop hunger with Live Aid back in the mid-eighties, The Beatles refused to play for a segregated audience forcing the promoters to change the rules which politics couldn’t or wouldn’t have done as quickly, the glam- and disco-era helped the gay community in a way that wouldn’t have been possible any other way, we’ve been there to change the world since rock’n’roll was born. It’s time to help ourselves now, go buy that ticket as if your life depended on it!

Cause maybe it does.